Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliot, Alfred Molina, Wolf Kahler, Anthony Higgins, Vic Tablian, Don Fellows, William Hootkins, Bill Reimbold, Fred Sorenson, Patrick Durkin, Matthew Scurfield, Malcolm Weaver, Sonny Caldinez, Anthony Chinn, Pat Roach, Christopher Frederick, Tutte Lemkow, Ishaq Bux, Kiran Shah, Souad Messaoudi, Terry Richards, Steve Hanson, Frank Marshall, Martin Kreidt, George Harris, Eddie Tagoe, John Rees, Tony Vogel, Ted Grossman
In 1936, Indiana Jones (Ford) is venturing in the rain forest in Peru, accompanied by two Spanish Peruvians, Satipo (Molina) and Barranca (Tablian) and several Yagua Indians. The Indians run away when the group reaches a vegetation-enshrouded stone temple. At the portal to the temple, Barranca suddenly attacks Indiana and Indiana kills him. Indiana and Satipo enter the dark temple and follow a twisting passage. They move cautiously past deadly traps and reach a domed chamber. An altar at the back holds a golden idol. Indiana gets the idol, but in doing so sets off a deadly trap which he only just manages to escape. Satipo tricks Indiana, takes the idol, and runs away leaving Indiana on the far side of a chasm. Indiana manages to leap across and later finds Satipo’s body, impaled by one of the temple traps, and retrieves the idol. When Indiana emerges from the temple, an old enemy, Dr. Rene Belloq (Freeman), steals the idol and then sets Hovito Indians after him. Indiana barely succeeds in running away from the homicidal Indians. Back in the United States, at a college in New England, Indiana Jones, a Professor of Archaeology and expert on rare antiquities, is approached by two Army Intelligence officers, Major Eaton (Hootkins) and Colonel Musgrove (Fellows). They are looking for Professor Abner Ravenwood, a man Indiana studied under at the University of Chicago. Indiana tells them he has not seen Ravenwood in years, they had a bit of a falling out, but thinks he may be somewhere in Asia. Colonel Musgrove says that Army Intelligence intercepted a German communique sent from Cairo to Berlin. It said, “Tanis development proceeding. Acquire headpiece Staff of Ra, General Tengtu Hok, Shanghai. Locate Abner Ravenwood, U.S.” Dr. Marcus Brody (Elliot), Indiana’s friend and colleague, mentions that over the past two years the Germans have had teams of archaeologists running around the world looking for religious artifacts. Indiana and Brody reckon that the Germans are looking for the Staff of Ra, a stick capped with an elaborate headpiece in the shape of the sun with a crystal in the center. If the staff was taken to a special room in the city of Tanis, with a miniature of the city laid out on the floor, and if it was put in a certain place at a certain time of day, a beam of sunlight would shine through the crystal and come down on the floor indicating the location of the Well of the Souls, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The Ark was an engraved case said to contain priceless antiquities, including the Ten Commandments, the stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Horeb. The Ark had the capacity to project a supernatural power, like lightning or fire, which could lay waste to whatever it touched. The U.S. Government wants to prevent Nazi agents from getting hold of the Ark and using it as a weapon. Indiana travels to Nepal to obtain the headpiece to the Staff of Ra from Ravenwood. Indiana and Marion Ravenwood were lovers ten years earlier. Ravenwood was furious when he discovered the intimate relationship between Indiana and his teenage daughter, and expelled him from his circle of friends. Marion runs a rough-looking saloon. Still resentful over their breakup, she tells Indiana that her father died in an avalanche two years earlier, but agrees to help find the headpiece. She conceals from him the fact that she has it. A Nazi agent, Toht (Lacey) and several Sherpa ruffians enter Marion’s saloon and hold Marion, threatening to torture her for the headpiece. But Indiana returns and a fight ensues. In the melee a fire starts. Toht grabs the Ra headpiece, but it is hot from the fire and it burns its image on his hand. In pain, he drops the metal disk and runs away. Indiana and Marion leave Nepal and fly to Cairo, where they meet Indiana’s friend, Sallah (Rhys-Davies). Sallah has a job at the Nazi archaeological dig. He tells Indiana that Belloq is assisting the Nazi operation. Aided by Marion and Sallah, Indiana infiltrates the Tanis site. They seek to reach the Well of the Souls and the Ark of the Covenant before Belloq and his Nazi cronies. Theirs is a perilous quest, for Belloq is a resourceful foe, a shadowy reflection of Indiana, and the Nazi agents are backed by the awesome power of the Third Reich. Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman.